by Anton Shilov
02/06/2008 | 04:36 PM
Despite of the fact that Nvidia Corp. acquired Ageia Technologies, the developer of dedicated physics processing units for video games, the graphics giant is unlikely to destroy PhysX shortly. Instead, there may be more dedicated PhysX accelerator add-in cards launched, a vice president of Ageia said in an interview.
Nvidia has a long history of acquisitions with completely different outcomes for the companies being taken over. For example, when it acquired 3dfx, it ceased to sell Voodoo graphics cards almost immediately and there was barely any support for 3dfx graphics cards going forward. On the other hand, when Nvidia took over mobile chip developer MediaQ, it re-branded certain products and continued their sales and support. After Nvidia promised to deliver “GeForce-accelerated PhysX” as soon as possible, the future of Ageia-developed physics chips became completely indistinct.
Despite being on the market for a little less than two years, Ageia PhysX has not become popular among gamers. However, many gamers are well-aware of dedicated physics processing units (PPUs). Moreover, considering the fact that Ageia PhysX is already here and its successor is supposedly ready, it would be easier for Nvidia to promote dedicated physics hardware in order to promote higher quality physics in video games in general first and only then halt support for PPUs and focus on GPU-accelerated physics.
“We are still committed to hardware-accelerated physics and will support existing PPU customer commitments, as well as future business, as demand dictates. As long as there is demand, Nvidia will do what’s right to support [dedicated PhysX PPUs],” said Michael Steele, vice president of marketing at Ageia, in an interview with X-bit labs.
That said, chances are high that Nvidia actually continues to promote and develop Ageia PhysX PPUs. Given that numerous game developers are continuously testing what PhysX is capable of and try to implement additional physics effects into their games, it does not make a lot of sense for Nvidia to scrap PhysX PPUs, but does make sense to assign additional developer relations specialists on helping game creators to incorporate advanced hardware-accelerated physics effects.
“Nvidia wants to be open in its further development of PhysX software in order to enable as many platforms as possible on both PC and console. Nvidia understands better than anyone the need to enable a large and unrestricted market for game developers. I don’t think anyone will question their unique capabilities to support the development community. Enabling a physics eco-system and then delivering the best hardware for that environment is good for gaming,” Mr. Steele added.